OCAD University Open Research Repository

Alienation To-do: Using critical design to explore issues of alienation and involution for contemporary digital laborers in China.

Yuan, Jamie (2022) Alienation To-do: Using critical design to explore issues of alienation and involution for contemporary digital laborers in China. Masters thesis, OCAD University.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Yuan, Jamie
Abstract:

This thesis project explores the overwork and involution of Chinese digital laborers
by quantifying these laborers’ level of alienation and take actions to reduce it using
critical design methods on a mobile app. Involution in China stands for the
unnecessary competition, which does not lead to productivity and improved
innovation in the workplace. Nowadays, young employees working in big cities in
China are suffering from the issue of overwork and involution. They not only
withstand expended working time and heavy workload but also experience
meaninglessness in work, as well as intense and useless competition from other
employees. As suggested by analyzing some working characteristics of Chinese
digital laborers, the situation may be manifestation of negative effects of capitalism
and labor exploitation, and the alienation of employees would be a core concept in
this issue and contributes to finding possible solutions.
The outcome of the thesis project is a critical app while adopting critical design as the
main design methodology: Alienation To-do. The app is an office and selfmanagement app that can enable users to manage time and tasks at work and quantify
the level of alienation of users by analyzing users’ data uploaded. Additionally, a
report reminds users of their level of alienation and gives advice on how to ease the
situation. Moreover, users will be encouraged to take suitable actions and record what
they do. Thus, their levels of alienation will be influenced. This thesis project aims to
clarify what an employee could do to get rid of alienation invite users to reflect on the real world.

Date: May 2022
Uncontrolled Keywords: critical design, speculative design, mobile app, alienation, involution, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis
Divisions: School of Interdisciplinary Studies > Digital Futures
Date Deposited: 18 May 2022 16:07
Last Modified: 18 May 2022 16:07
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/3807

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